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Karachi University PhD, MS programmes admission

Controversy still surrounds PhD, MS admissions
Karachi, Nov 20: Confusion deepened over the admission policy of Karachi University for MS/PhD programmes when the university removed a controversial merit admission list from its official website, without citing any details about the latest formula being adopted, two days after much hue and cry was raised on the issue.
Students and teachers say there seems to be indecisiveness and a lack of planning at the administrative level, recalling that the administration earlier changed the merit formula stated in the admission brochure and issued a list that did not have the names of many candidates who had already passed the pre-entry test held last month.

The MS/PhD merit list has been withdrawn following a strong criticism from teachers and students. The episode occurred in the backdrop of NTS fiasco last month. About 60pc of the total 1,770 candidates failed to pass the entry test held for the first time for MS/PhD programmes at KU. The administration changed the merit formula and issued a list that did not carry the names of many successful candidates.

According to the latest formula decided by the deans of various faculties and the pro-vice-chancellor in the Wednesday meeting, those candidates who have secured at least 50 per cent marks in the test conducted by the National Testing Service (NTS) will be considered for the admissions by giving 40 per cent weight to the NTS test results and 60 per cent to academic degrees.

Final decision awaited
Talking to Dawn, Karachi University's pro-vice chancellor Dr Akhlaq Ahmed admitted that the admission brochure did not make any reference to the merit formula likely to be adopted.

"Yes, the admission brochure does not talk about giving any weight to the academic degree. But this formula has been agreed upon in the meeting. We will hold another meeting tomorrow to finalize the decision."

A number of students contacted Dawn to express their concern over what they termed 'a lack of seriousness in academic affairs and management' on the part of the varsity administration.

According to them, the university is violating its own rules and regulations by changing the merit formula again and again and no official seems to be ready to take the blame for the inconvenience being caused to the candidates.

"The admission brochure clearly states that the qualifying marks would be 50 per cent in the entrance test and there is no such mention of 60 per cent weight to the academic degree and 40 per cent to the test," says a candidate whose name was not in the merit list though she passed the NTS pre-entry test.

Another candidate who found her name in the merit list says: "The varsity issued a notification signed by the registrar in September, stating that the last academic degree of a candidate would be accorded 60 per cent weight and the entrance test would be given 40 per cent weight. Why is this rule being changed now?" she asks.

The 40-60pc decision was taken by the vice-chancellor on behalf of the Board of Advanced Studies and Research and the university's academic council, according to the Sept 23 notification regarding the revised admission schedule.

Teachers critical
The university teachers Dawn spoke to were critical of the administration's poor handling of the admission process. "It's the height of non-seriousness on the part of the KU administration."

They say initially the university could not decide on what policy be adopted for PhD programme and as such there have been no admissions for over two years, adding "now when the process has been initiated, after lumping the PhD programme admission process with the MS programme for some unknown reasons, it is marred with numerous slipups.

"No transparency is being demonstrated in the admission process as students are being kept in the dark about the merit formula to be adopted for the final list."

Dr Aqeel Ahmed, a member of the advanced studies and research board, questions the act of unilateral administrative decisions in the presence of relevant statuary bodies.

"The vice-chancellor has the authority to take such decisions. But our objection is quite basic and that involves discussing serious matters like these in relevant forums."

On the confusion created by the controversial merit list, Dr Ahmed says: "The mess would not have been created if bodies like the board of advanced studies and research has been involved and taken into confidence. There is no doubt that the whole episode is reflective of huge gaps in the management at KU."

It is feared that only a few students would ultimately make it to the MS/PhD programmes as students are required to enrol themselves at their respective departments with relevant supervisors. "Since the university has limited number of PhDs, the number of students taking up MS and PhD programmes would be much less than the number of those in the merit list," a teacher observes.

HEJ candidates
Clarifying the H.E.J Research Institute of Chemistry's position on the admissions, Dr Tanveer Ahmed Farooqui says none of the 38 H.E.J institute's candidates, who appeared in the NTS exam, failed rather their results were withheld.

"The NTS test paper contained no question about organic chemistry which is the area of the institute's research rather it focused on physical chemistry. Soon after the test, we contacted the KU administration. The NTS admitted its mistake and the results of all the 38 students were withheld," he says, citing Nov 30 as the fresh date for their entry tests.

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Over 8,000 teachers don't turn up in Mansehra schools
Mansehra: Minister for Food Shujah Salim Khan has termed absenteeism a main reason behind what he called the mess in the education department in the district, saying more than half of teachers have been receiving salaries without performing their duties.

"The government spends over Rs1 billion annually on salaries and other expenses of the district, but absenteeism has marred performance of government schools and that's why most of students fail board examinations," he said at the golden jubilee ceremony of the Degree Collage here on Wednesday.

The minister said 8,000 of 14,000 male and female teachers had remained absent from their duties for many years, but had been receiving salaries every month, adding: "Such culture will not be tolerated in future and teachers who are found absent from duty will be dealt with strictly under the laws because we want progress in fields like education and health."

Mr Shujah said if the federal government wanted to develop the country and put it on the path of prosperity it should cut the defence budget and increase the budget for education. He said it was difficult to bring major changes in the existing education system in the province because the government was short of funds.

He said the provincial government had approved 20 collages in current year's fiscal budget, adding two of the colleges would be established in the Mansehra district.

Speaking on the occasion, NWFP Minister for Higher Education Qazi Asad said the provincial government was giving priority to the education department because the province could not make progress in any field if its people were not educated.

He said that to promote higher education among girls, two girls' collages would be established in backward areas of Atarshesha and Tanawal in the Mansehra district. Dawn

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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